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The ‘Tare” route (Option-Flat combo) is one of the top concepts in the NFL out of a 3×1 alignment. Work the combination to the closed (strong) side (with a clear out 9 route) or target the backside X receiver on the slant/fade.
How do you defend it? Let’s go back to Thanksgiving from this past season and breakdown the technique of Green Bay’s Charles Woodson playing the nickel corner and talk some technique.
Packers vs. Lions
Personnel: Posse (3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB)
Route concept: Tare
Defensive scheme: Cover 2
Alignment: The “Tare” can be run out of multiple personnel groupings (Regular, Ace, Posse, etc.) The key is the pre-snap alignment. The Lions have a 3×1 set with the strength of the formation to the field. Given the down and stance situation (2nd and 5), you have to alert the “Tare” from a defensive perspective. This is why alignments are a big part of film study for pro DBs. They tell you what to play for.
Route: The Packers are playing Cover 2 to the closed (strong) side of the formation (2-Man to the open side vs. Calvin Johnson). The Lions are looking to occupy the CB with the vertical release of No.1 (Z) on the 9 route, widen Woodson (from his nickel alignment) with the No.2 WR (H) in the flat and target TE Brandon Pettigrew (Y) on t he quick, inside option route.
Nickel technique: Study Woodson here—because he plays this like a vet. As an underneath nickel defender (seam-hook drop), there is no need to bail (or get depth) when the No.2 runs to the flat. Settle your feet, read the QB and drive on the throw.
Plant and Drive: This is what you want to see from your DBs on tape. Woodson is under control, has his feet in an athletic position and drives downhill at an angle that puts him in a position to make a play on the ball. Clinic tape for young DBs to study.
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